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Only South African and Egyptian universities make list of a world’s top 1000

It is not going to come as welcome news to universities in Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and many other African countries, but none of them made the cut to be ranked anywhere on the list of the world’s top 1000 universities. The only exceptions in Africa are universities in South Africa and Egypt. Are such lists accurate or is this just another example of excellent African learning institutions being overlooked?



In what is a sad statement of the general state of higher education in Africa, only universities in South Africa and Egypt have racked up enough points to be listed among the world’s top 1000 universities. In a list just released by Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR), five universities in South Africa and four Egyptian ones have made the cut.

Good showing

South African universities fared better on the list, all of them coming in above the ones from Egypt. According to the CWUR ranking, the best university in Africa is SA’s University of Witwatersrand (at 176), followed by the University of Cape Town (at 265), with the Stellenbosch University coming in at 329 on the list. Also contributing to South Africa’s good showing is the University of KwaZulu-Natal which was ranked at 468 in the world. Only the University of Pretoria (at 697) isn’t in the top 500. Not too shabby, as they say.

South African universities fared better on the list, all of them coming in above the ones from Egypt

With the exception of Cairo University (at 771), the other three Egyptian universities included in the ranking barely made it to the list. Ain Shams University is at 960th followed by Mansoura University at 985th and the Alexandria University at 995th. Still, there are worse things than coming in at the bottom of the ranking.


Just ask top universities in countries like Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, all of which are conspicuously absent from the list. The universities generally do well in other world university ranking lists. The news is enough to cause a bit of a stir in Nigeria.


Still, some Nigerians think the list got it just right.

Usual suspects 


At the top of the CWUR ranking are the usual suspects. The top three is occupied by Harvard University, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in that order, all from the US. Britain’s two equally famous institutions of higher learning, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, respectively, round up the top five.